Let the tapering begin! (Half Marathon Training Day 92)

Last night, I dreamt of running the Nike Women’s Half… but it was actually more of a nightmare. I kept getting distracted and pulled from all different sides from the race – there was suddenly something that I had to do, so I had to steer off course, for HOURS at a time. I could never finish! I kept getting back on the course only to have to do something again. I was the last person to finish, and the thousands of others were already heading home.

Phew. I think I had this dream because I have been stressing a lot about the race lately. I think I’ve been focusing too much on time, instead of covering the distance.. and I really shouldn’t. Since this is my first half, I should really only do my best and tackle the distance. Master the distance, worry about the time later. Through all my training, I’ve forgotten the main thing I actually trained for: to reach 13.1 miles. Yes, it would be nice to finish in 2:30 with no rest breaks, but if I finish later than that, oh well. What matters is that I finished, right? In these last couple of months, I’ve had a lot of gains. I’ve run so many miles and I would’ve never done so if I didn’t sign up for this half. I need to remind myself to just go with the flow.

When my alarm woke me up from my dream, I was so groggy. I thought it was Monday! It took me a few minutes to realize I had to do my long run. I really didn’t want to. Waking up at 5 yesterday morning and running a fast 5k made me really tired and I didn’t realize it. But, I sucked it up and got ready. By 8, I was out the door.

I slept in a little since I knew the weather wouldn’t be too hot at all during the morning. After my first mile, I started running behind an older woman, and in due time, I caught up with her. At first, I actually frightened her because she noticed my shadow gaining on her – haha! We ended up chitchatting about what we were training for. She was training for a half as well, but her’s was in November! She had told me she was doing 8 miles today; I told her I was doing 11. We talked a little more about how our training was going and just how tired we were from it! I ran her pace until I had to change my course to continue on my 11 mile route and we parted ways. I haven’t ran next to someone since my cross country days; I forgot how nice it was! Talking with the woman only helped me stay focused for the rest of my run.

I reversed my usual, hilly, long run route and to my surprise, I actually ran uphill in good time! With the route reversed, I was going uphill for a longer amount of time. I figured it was good practice for San Francisco. After I went downhill however, I started getting tired. At around mile 9, I stopped at a park to drink some water and use the restroom. I was thinking to myself, how would it be when I’m at the half? I need to learn how to use the port-a-potty as fast as I can.. haha.

I ended up finishing 11 miles at 2:11:06 – a whole minute faster than my last 11-miler, and this was with a huge hill! I was pretty damn proud of myself, but I was also really tired.. and my right foot was hurting. Darn you, arched feet! Does anyone have any remedies for foot arch pain?

Throughout today, I just pretty much cooked, cleaned, did errands.. most importantly, I managed to watch the Berlin Marathon since I missed it last night. So proud of all the runners, especially the new record holder Dennis Kimetto, and of course, my girl Shalane Flanagan! Although she didn’t beat Deena Kastor’s record, damn did she run that race! I believe she will break records in due time.

Anyway, that’s about it. I hope everyone has had a great weekend! Can you believe it’s already going to be October later this week?!

Till next time,

P.

 

RACE DAY – Saint Paul the Apostle Church’s Harvest Run 5k, 2014. (Half Marathon Training Day 91)

Well, I didn’t PR, but I definitely was in for a surprise!

Today was the day of my first 5k since March of this year! I managed to get up at around 5:50 am this morning to get to where the race was by 6:30. I was surprised I had enough energy this morning: I had gotten dinner with friends last night and did not get home until late. I got ready quick, and grabbed a KIND bar on the go. I had about an hour and a half until the race started, so I had some time to have a little something to eat before.

Everyone was really friendly this morning. I usually go to races myself, since my boyfriend unfortunately works mornings on Saturdays, which is usually when I have a race. I found myself talking to a lot of fellow runners. I swear, I have never met a rude runner. It’s always easy to strike a conversation with anyone at a race! One man had told me that he was finally getting back into running, and that today was his first 5k – after 20 years! After some more small talk, he agreed to take a photo of me before the race started.

Two thumbs up for an awesome race! Little did I know at the time. :p
Two thumbs up for an awesome race! Little did I know at the time. :p

By 7:30, we were off. I already knew to pace myself and not let myself get too excited as everyone rushed past me, so I just took my time. The course was relatively flat, with a couple of hills. It was a beautiful course – the first part of the trail had us go into a lush, green field and some old farm houses. I wish I got to take photos!

Once I reached the first mile’s water station, I yanked a cup off the table and tried my best to drink as I continued to run. A half of a mile later, I started noticing that I had already passed a lot of the people that had passed me in the beginning, to the point where there was a large gap between the people in front of me and the people behind me. The last mile was all flat, and at this point I started passing even more people. Within sight, there was about three people in front, with someone right beside me and someone behind me.

As I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I did my best and sprinted all the way down. I finished in 29:30. I didn’t PR. But WHEW. As flat as the course was, I felt like that was one of the tougher 5k’s I’ve ran – possibly because of the small, unexpected hills.

Had to sneak a pic of the pretty medals!
Had to sneak a pic of the pretty medals!

The after portion of the race included a breakfast. I met one of the runners I finished with and I sat down and ate breakfast with him. I learned that he was just in high school and had ran the race with his sister. When his little sister had arrived, I found out that they were Filipino, which is awesome because I hardly see any fellow Filipinos where I live. It was nice to bond with him and his family, and to be able to speak my native tongue! It’s been a while. I now have a new running buddy, since it was his first 5k race ever! I’m already egging him on to do another race with me soon!

A little bit later, the awards ceremony was up. His little sister ended up placing 3rd in her age range! When his age range came up, we were hoping he’d place too – but unfortunately he came at a close 4th place! By the time it was my age group, I already felt defeated. There was no way I was going to place this time.

3rd place, not me.

2nd place, ha, of course, not me!

1st place, me – WAIT WHAT?!

All of us at the table were shocked and I was so surprised – I HAD PLACED FIRST IN MY AGE RANGE YET AGAIN! I honestly did not expect it since the age range was huge and I thought there would be more women my age ahead of me, but I guessed wrong!

I look like a mess, but it's okay - I got a medal! :D

So, I won another pretty medal! Hooray! And I thought I’d just come home with a new bib and shirt!

I’m so glad I signed up for this race last minute! I got to run a beautiful course, got to work on my speedwork yet again, got to meet a new friend, and I ended up winning a sweet medal!

Yeah!! First place! Woot woot!
Yeah!! First place! Woot woot!

Next on my agenda, time to relax ALLLL DAY. Long run tomorrow, just need to plan which distance I’ll be doing!

Happy Saturday, everyone! Till next time,

P.

5 miles in and a 5k in sight. (Half-Marathon Training Day 89)

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I finally managed to get off my butt this morning and ran my first Fall 5-miler! 🙂

Last night, I also ended up signing up for a local 5k because as I strolled through many running posts and pictures, I realized just how much I missed races! I was originally hoping to do a 10k, but there wasn’t anything that appealed to me – or was within my budget –  right before the half. My last race was all the way back in March – since no, The Color Run doesn’t count. It’s been way too long, so I signed up last minute! Can’t wait to finally add another bib to my collection! Yay for Fall and the plentiful races it brings! I’m also all into race goodies, so I’m happy the 5k I signed up for is giving out shirts!

The race is this Saturday morning, and I’m psyched because there’s supposed to be a light drizzle. Rain in SoCal? Yes, finally. Even just a bit. I’m so excited! Of course, I’ll be getting pre-race jitters. I really hope to do good, if not better, than I did before. I’ve found that in actual races I’m quite faster than even if I ran the exact course by myself (oh, the adrenaline), so I’m hoping for anything under 29 minutes. *Fingers crossed* It’ll be quite a nice surprise if I place within my age range again. 🙂

Happy Thursday! I really can’t believe the weekend is already here!

Till next time,

P.

(This post was brought to you by EXCLAMATION POINTS!)

Weekly runs are out of the loop. Mehhh.

There is just something about trying to train during the week that I feel like have just tired me out. Work has been draining and all I want to do when I get home is cook dinner, get some me time, and sleep. For hours. And then the next day, it starts all over again.

My last run was on Sunday – my 13-miler. I wanted to get some gym time yesterday, but I had so many errands to do after work that I just had no time. I did not feel like getting up early this morning, and I didn’t even have time to go to the gym after work because I had a dinner date with a friend.

Okay, I partially blame my apartment complex’s gym. Although they “close at 10”, they usually close pretty much whenever they want to – sometimes, MOST TIMES, at 6 pm – so I can’t even go a little later on in the night! Also, as much as I’d love to go during the morning, they open at 8 – which gives me no time to get ready for work! Plus, an elliptical just isn’t the same as the treadmill. Yes, it’s the treadmill, but still… sometimes, it’s the only way to get a run in!

Last night, my boyfriend and I signed over a pre-approval contract for the new apartment that we want, and I’m pretty excited – more so because their gym is open 24 hrs… and they actually have treadmills! Those would’ve been incredibly useful during my training when I couldn’t or didn’t want to go outside. -__-

Anyway, tomorrow I am planning on getting a run in during the morning, at least a 4+ miler. It’s been too long and I know my legs are going to feel rickety. I might even try to squeeze some gym time or a quick run Friday morning to make up for earlier this week. Phew.

I hope everyone’s week is going well – I just can’t believe it’s already hump day and the weekend is just around the corner. I’m trying to decide if I should run 13 again or just go 10 or 11. Well, as I usually judge off of it, I’ll just go by how the weather makes me feel.

Till next time,

P.

The best first 13 miles I could’ve ever asked for! (Half-Marathon Training Day 85)

Oh, beautiful trees. I love thee.
Oh, beautiful trees. I love thee.

THE GOAL HAS BEEN ACHIEVED. I managed to run a full 13 miles this morning! While yes, my legs are definitely aching now, I still feel AWESOME.

I had been peeking at the weather each hour since last night, and when I saw that it would be around low 60’s until noon, I knew I was in good shape. I planned out a new route last night: all uphill from the beginning (miles 1-6) and all downhill towards the end (miles 7-13). I managed to get up out of bed even though it was so dark outside and it felt like 4 am instead of 6:30. I ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and got ready. I filled my knapsack (that is still doused with color from the Color Run, by the way) with an energy bar and a small Powerade and tied it criss-crossed so the straps wouldn’t be flailing around while I ran. I really need to invest in a fanny pack.

It was the absolute perfect morning to complete my first 13-miler, and once I got outside I knew that today was the day. It was overcast – no sun at ALL during my run – and pretty chilly. For miles 1-5 I listened to the soundtrack for “The Fault In Our Stars” since I felt it suited the weather (haha)… I recommend the soundtrack, by the way. Anyway, I kept my pace steady and did my best for when it started going uphill.

I saw a couple of neat things during my new route, by the way. I’ve never seen chickens – yes, chickens – running around on the street around here before. Of course, I snagged a pic. I was a little intimidated by the roosters so I took one of a mother hen and her little chick!

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My new route took me to another part of town, and I was in for another surprise when I saw that I had ran into an antique car show! It was around 8-9 am so the crowds just started coming in. There were food stands, sound stages, a live band, and of course, classic cars! It was so neat!

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I took a quick break near some policemen and ate some of my energy bar to help me complete the rest of the run. I went back down the other side of the street, so it was cool to get a glimpse of more cars on the other side!

Before I knew it, I was back to my part of town, with 3 miles to go! I couldn’t believe that I was just breezing through my run – I wasn’t too tired, although I did start feeling hungry… and my feet were starting to hurt.

Once I hit 13 miles, it didn’t even hit me; I didn’t even feel tired! Last week for my 11-miler, I was exhausted, but that was most likely because it was much hotter then. I checked my pace throughout: an average pace of 11:29, and I finished in 2:29:34!

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After my run, I stretched, massaged my calves and feet, ate some more of my energy bar, changed my rabbit’s litter box, and finally got to shower. Since then, I’ve had two cups of coffee, a slice of apple pie, and some gouda cheese. I know, I really do need to eat something to replenish what I lost, and soon, but it just feels like such a lazy day! I’m contemplating what to cook – or get – for dinner tonight. Hmm.

I REALLY STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I DID 13 MILES TODAY. I’m still in disbelief.. but it happened!

The rest of my day will now consist of being lazy, eating, and catching up on some Doctor Who! Any fans here, by the way?

Happy Sunday, everyone!

P.

A fast(ish) 5k after 2 months! (Half-Marathon Training Day 84… wait, wow it’s been 84 days?!)

So today, I managed to run a fast 5k. It’s been a while, and as I’ve said in my previous post, I’ve been craving it!

I went to the park at around 8:30 am – later than usual, but it was because the weather was just amazing. It hasn’t been overcast in weeks, and it was about 63 degrees. I took my sweet time this morning, and I had comfort in the fact that I would only be running for about 30 minutes anyway. 😀

I started off, well, fast. I completed mile 1 at 9:24 (YES!) and surprisingly I felt like I was running in good form. Mile 2 was a bit tougher since it was a tad uphill, but I managed to get it in 9:58 / mile. At mile 3, I finished at 9:18 / mile.

I WAS SO PROUD OF MYSELF, OF COURSE. But I had my hopes a little too high, and was hoping to finish before 29 minutes. My fastest 5k that I’ve PR’ed in was 27:56 – I still haven’t broken that yet. Ugh. Because I finished in 29:44 (this was my RunKeeper time; my Nike Running time was 29:29.. don’t know which to believe), I was a tad bit disappointed, but still happy with my pace per mile, nonetheless.

It felt really good to get some speedwork done today instead of endurance, which is all I’ve been doing for the past two months. I’m happy that my pace per mile for a 5k, although still not my exact best, was still around 9 minutes, which was where I had left off. I’m thinking after this half, I’ll focus on my speed again. I really want 26 minutes, and then even 25… but we’ll see!

When I got back home, I ended up making some yogurt topped with blueberries, strawberries, honey, and granola. It was so yummy!

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Overall, it was a good Saturday morning. Tomorrow is (dah dah dah DAH) LONG RUN DAY. I’m still contemplating whether I should just go 12 miles or just do all 13. I still have no fanny pack of some sort to take with me on LDRs, which is my bad – I should’ve gotten one today at a thrift store. I do know for a fact that the weather is gonna be awesome and there’s not going to be any sun blasting onto my face, so if I go really, really slow, I think I can do it. I’m just hoping the weather doesn’t change on me last minute. -_-

I hope everyone’s having a great weekend so far!

P.

4 miles yesterday… a 5k tomorrow?

I don’t know what is up with me this week. I’m not going to lie – I’ve been lazy with my training. Perhaps it was the new workload I now have, and as much as I love the responsibility, I have to admit, it took a lot of adjusting at work this week to make sure I had everything I needed to get done. I’ve also been in talks with my boyfriend about getting a new place since I’ve gotten a really awesome promotion. We actually toured a place that we were interested in today, and we met a resident who was actually a runner! We bonded over which races she had done and which ones I’d planned to do, and she also told me of the many trails that surround the new apartment complexes… tsk. Well, that’s already winning me over.

Anyway, now that the week is over, I can look back and say that it was overall a successful work week… as for my training plan, not so much.

I stayed true to what I said on Tuesday and went to the gym Wednesday morning. It was quite nice to do the elliptical in an air conditioned gym instead of running outside in 83 degree weather at 8 am. You heard that right. On Thursday, I was planning on going for a 5-mile run, but because of the sun shining SUPER bright in my eyes, I altered my route and took a new one I haven’t before, and eventually it only led me to 4 miles. Bleh. I didn’t feel so good while doing it either. I just felt tired. I don’t know what it is about my mid-week runs, but my energy just hasn’t been in it lately. I managed to run my last mile as fast as I could though; I wanted to focus on my speed. Which, i realized, I haven’t focused on in like, two months.

Then, there are my weekend runs. TGIF. Tomorrow was supposed to be a scheduled 5-miler, but seeing as I haven’t had any time to focus on my speed, I’m suddenly craving to do a 5k as fast as I can instead. Since half-marathon training, my regular pace per mile has dropped to a low of 11:00 – 11:30. When I was racing earlier this year, my pace per mile was around 8:50 – 9:50. That’s about a two minute difference.

And, I’m not going to lie.. but I miss running short distances! I miss it when I’d just go for a quick 30 minute run… ah yes, those were the days. Although I’m super proud of how far I’ve come along, I just miss running those quick 5ks!

On Sunday, I’m planning for a 12-miler or even 13 because why not? The half-marathon is officially one month away today… I really should tackle the distance if I can. Might as well, right? I’m really happy too, since the temperatures have finally dropped and cool breeze has kicked in since two nights ago. What better way to celebrate the first day of Fall this Monday?

I’ll keep you all posted. 🙂

Till next time,

P.